Norrona Lofoten Hiloflex200 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hiloflex200 is a decent softshell jacket that performed adequately in most of our review metrics but did not stand out in a way that made it rise above the others. For certain applications, such as climbing in windy conditions, the integrated facemask may be a benefit, but more than likely, you'll find it an annoyance.
The Lofoten Hiloflex200 uses a woven polyester/elastane blend to comprise the outer shell. This heavier weight material adequately blocks wind and snow, though it was not tight enough to offer much protection from wetter precipitation. The inner recycled fleece backing aids in warmth, making this a more favorable jacket for cooler weather. The elastic thumb loops help keep the jacket cuffs in place, though the cuffs felt too tight to slip over gloves. We had to wear gloves over the cuffs, which does not offer as much weather protection. The hood is only useful if you plan on wearing it underneath a helmet. It is not made of weather-resistant material and is more like a sewn-on balaclava.
This jacket performed slightly below average when we considered breathability. It uses a fleece backing, which makes it warm, but it also felt like it trapped perspiration when on steady uphill climbs. The fibers do not easily dry out, which caused us to feel cool and uncomfortable after stopping. This softshell would be a more appropriate choice for someone recreating in cooler weather who will benefit from the added warmth and wind protection that the fleece offers and who does not expect to be exerting as much.
The Hiloflex200 is reasonably mobile, with stretchy fabric and a trim fit. We found it to respond well to the demands of climbing, skiing, and hiking. The thumb loops are a benefit to climbers who plan to do a lot of overhead reaching.
This jacket had a verified weight of 17.6 ounces. This puts it on the heavier end of the spectrum, but that is only due to the extremely lightweight nature of some of the other jackets our review. At barely over a pound this weight is fine, and for those looking for a warmer softshell, a couple of extra ounces for the fleece backing will seem worth it.
Versatility was a metric we could not give this jacket high scores because of how awkward the facemask/hood combo is to use, how it is really only meant to be worn under a helmet, and how it does not offer any wet weather protection. One of the things we had an issue with was deploying the facemask when already wearing the hood.
The Lofoten Hiloflex200 is a reasonably priced softshell when judged against the retail prices of other jackets we reviewed, though it is a very niche jacket that is more of a specialized tool than a do-it-all performer.
If you prefer to wear your hood underneath a climbing or ski helmet, and you often like to wear a facemask or balaclava for wind protection, then this jacket might be the right call for you. But if you don't need such a niche feature and value breathability and water resistance, you may want to look elsewhere.
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